Washington, DC (STL.News) The Administration’s policy is to protect our national and border security, address the humanitarian challenges at the U.S.-Mexico border, and ensure public health and safety.  The Departments of State and Homeland Security are coordinating closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Mexican government and international organization partners to implement the draw down of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, also known as “Remain in Mexico”) program with an emphasis on full compliance with federal, state, and local health orders.

Through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the United States is funding international organization partners with experience conducting medical screening for migrant populations around the world to assist individuals prior to arrival at U.S. ports of entry.   This process involves close coordination with the Mexican government’s health authorities and system.

Upon arrival of individuals at staging locations outside the United States, partner organizations will provide all pre-registered individuals with active MPP cases and all individuals working on site with a face mask that complies with the guidelines of the CDC, if they did not bring their own. Face masks will be worn at all times during staging and transport, and spaces will be configured to ensure physical distancing.

Partner organizations will coordinate antigen testing, temperature checks, and health questionnaires in line with CDC guidance and recommendations to identify individuals with active COVID-19 infections, recent close contact with an individual with COVID-19, or other communicable diseases.  Individuals with active MPP cases do not need to obtain a COVID-19 test outside of this process because our partner organizations will test them upon arrival at a staging location.

Antigen testing for COVID-19 will take place upon arrival at a staging location, in most cases within 24 hours of travel to a U.S. port of entry. In accordance with CDC recommendations, testing will be repeated if the initial test was not within three days of the arrival of an individual to a U.S. port of entry.  The staging areas will be configured to cordon off an area for individuals who have received negative antigen tests so that they do not come in contact with other individuals.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and have mild or no symptoms will be required to isolate for ten days in accordance with local Mexican health authority policy and CDC guidance.  Individuals who test positive with severe symptoms will receive treatment through the Mexican health system.  Accompanying family members will also quarantine in line with CDC guidance and requirements of Mexican health authorities. In all locations, family unity will be prioritized at all times.  Once individuals who are infected complete their isolation periods and do not display a fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, and exposed family members complete their quarantine periods, our partner organizations will once again consider facilitating their arrival at a U.S. port of entry.

Partner organizations will provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test or completion of isolation to the individuals prior to arrival at the U.S. port of entry.  Partner organizations will also provide documentation of completion of quarantine for family members of individuals who test positive for COVID-19.

The partner organizations will also provide each individual being manifested for arrival at a U.S. port of entry with a CDC health information card that recommends COVID-19 testing for travelers three to five days after arrival and self-quarantining for seven days, or self-quarantining for 10 days if travelers are not tested.

After individuals are confirmed to have an active MPP case and successfully undergoing these COVID-19 protocols, our partner organizations will transport the individuals to a U.S. port of entry in accordance with physical distancing guidelines.